Organizing Challenge #2 Digital files


Organizing digital files can seem like an enormous job. In fact it can be a very time consuming task. However it doesn't have to be that way. Any big project can be broken down into manageable steps. Here I have broken down this challenge into 3 simple steps. 

The key here is not to get stuck on memory lane, it's just like cleaning out a closet. You WILL find a file or picture that you want to open and read or look at. DON'T that's a trap and will cost you a lot more time. Let that be your reward when you are finished sorting.

Stay on task, your focus is organizing your digital files, not taking inventory of every baby picture you forgot about or old essays you can't believe you saved. To stay focused I suggest setting a time limit. Give yourself 1 hour per category. Do pics one day, documents another... simply SORT your files. 

With digital files the key is to make use of your FOLDERS. Most computers have a system already, called My Documents, My Pictures, My Movies, My Music... this is a good start. Once your media is divided you can create sub folders or a folder within a folder.  After your files are sorted you will be able to easily locate them because they are organized! 


Organize your digital files 
with these 3 easy steps



Step 1: Divide your media All Photos/pics belong in "My Pictures"-I will devote a whole blog just on sorting digital pictures, for now just make sure they are not on your desktop or in your documents folder.  All documents together in your documents folder, all video clips together...


Step 2: Categorize your media into folders: Learn how to create new folders and label them. For example you might want all word documents in one folder and excel spreadsheets in another. The focus here is on dividing your media into categories that make finding them easier. This way when you are looking for that spreadsheet you made last tax season you will know where to look. Do you have a lot of pics of your kids? Divide them into years, this is not at hard as it seems because most pics have a date attached to the file. Sort the pics by date automatically, by viewing them by date created and put them in folders by month or year. I will elaborate more about organizing pics in another blog. In this step your focus is to categorize your media to make your searches easier. 

Step 3: Organize your folders with sub folders. 
When you create a folder within a folder this is a sub folder. Consider one per family member. Categorize your documents. If you are a student you will want to have a folder per class. Separate work folders, give them a title that will be clear to you, maybe the name of your business or a specific task. Sub folders make a digital file easier to locate so the key is to label your sub folders appropriately. Remember to save your future files in the right folders to maintain this organized system.

After your media is categorized and labeled then you can invest the time into "going thru" those folders and actually seeing whats in them. One folder at a time will make this a time manageable task. But until then your digital media should prove to be less of an organizing challenge. 


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Organizing Challenge #1: What's for lunch?


What's for lunch?


If you are faced with the challenge of packing a lunch for your child, self or spouse, here is a plan to help take the guesswork out of this task. This might help encourage others to get involved. Even a 1st grader is capable of packing their own lunch with the proper guidance and nutritional knowledge.




Take the stress out of packing lunch
With these 3 easy steps

Step 1: Make a list
Fill in this list. Kids love to feel responsible and in control, so let them help you make this list. I tell my kids they need "fuel for school, thats the rule" When this list is complete you will have enough ideas to get you thru a week of lunches. 

Main: Sandwich, pasta, salad... Leftover dinners are the easiest, invest in containers that fit your lunchbox and pack up dinner for lunch. Sandwiches are easy too. I have kid knives available for safe PB&J or cream cheese spreading. 
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Vegetable: fresh or cooked, diced or whole... There are so many options yet this is often the hardest for kids to fill out. Go online with them or to the grocery store and show them how many choices they have. My kids like to dip baby carrots in chummus, you can explore dipping options too. They also like when I squeeze lemon on the cucumbers and sprinkle a bit of cayenne pepper. I encourage you to have fun and explore with this category.

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Fruit: fresh is best, apples, oranges, strawberries... however be prepared with some fruit cups like apple sauce or peaches for an alternative when fresh is not available or for variety.
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Snack: It is important to acknowledge that junk food is not a category on the list. That is because snacks are not junk food. A snack should be a nutritional boost to fuel you until your next meal. Some schools provide snack ours does not. In first grade are required to send 2, one for morning and afternoon. I try to stress that snack is not their lunch. When they come home and their bagel is there and their snacks are gone, they know that I will give them that bagel as their after school snack. (it doesn't happen often, they catch on quick!) Pirate Booty, natural fruit leathers, granola bars, nuts and dried fruit are some options I am always looking for more ideas.
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Drink: Water is best, you can invest in reusable bottles or buy a case of small ones. For variety the manufacturers are catching on that we don't want added sugar in our juices their are a lot of options for juice boxes or flavored water. Some stores even have lunch size milk in a variety of flavors. 
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Step 2: Be prepared and organized
Now that you have your list, hang it inside a pantry door or on the fridge.  Add this list to your weekly or monthly food shopping list and you will always be prepared. Place items from the list in a convenient location. Designate a shelf in a pantry for all non-perishable lunch supplies, and a shelf or drawer in the fridge to save time searching. To encourage kids to participate, make sure the shelf is within their reach, or place a step stool in the kitchen. 


Step 3: Pack your lunch!
Choose 1 item from each category and remember that snacks are not junk food. 
Fuel for school, thats the rule!